Colleges, universities, educational institutions in Europe are offering courses in English to compete for multi-billion tuition fees that international students bring in to a country’s economy, creating jobs in the process.  The UK, threatened by dropping enrollment, has rolled out new measures liberalizing work rights.  New Zealand on the other hand no longer requires English as a requirement for admission. Canadian provinces are aggressively competing by offering shorter courses that would lead to permanent residency.

All this because the war on the economic front does not have clear winners.

With the US government locked down and a default on international debts looming Oct. 17, Europe’s slow recovery and China’s ascent into the world economy as the remaining super-power, there are fewer working visa opportunities and residency options for English-speaking Filipino professionals and skilled workers.

So, the Student to Working then Resident pathway remains wide open.

International Students Work Rights in NZ Increased

Mindful of the $2.6 billion a year contribution of International students to the economy, Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce announced international students:

“will be allowed to work in New Zealand under new initiatives aimed at boosting the education sector. Under the changes, those studying full-time will be allowed to work during their scheduled course breaks (rather than just in summer) and 20-hour-a-week work limits for PhD and Masters students will be removed. Students will also no longer be required to comply with language proficiency measures.”

Canada Wants to Double International Admission by 2022

In a recent report, UNESCO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said that approximately 3.7 million students sought post-secondary education outside their home countries in 2009, compared with 800,000 in 1975.

This year, the number of international students in Canada exceeded 100,000 for the first time — triple the number who studied there in 2000.

Calling international education “the driver for economic prosperity and social progress” Edward Fast, the Canadian minister of international trade and for the Pacific Gateway, released a report by a government panel in August, with a recommendation to increase foreign student admission to 200,000. 

The reason? “Academic, dear Watson,” as Sherlock Holmes would say.

 “Last year, international students contributed more than 8 billion dollars to Canada’s economy,” Mr. Fast said by e-mail. The amount is about $7.8 billion at current rates “They supported 86,000 Canadian jobs.”

Europe Wants Talents

In July 2013, the European Commission revealed that “education…is at the heart of the Europe 2020 Strategy and of Europe’s ambition to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy.”

To win over their US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand counterparts, Europe has increased the number of higher education programs taught in English. According to the Institute of International Education, a New York-based non-profit organization “a total of 6,407 English course programs were offered June this year, a 38 percent rise on the 4,644 courses available just 18 months earlier.

As more and more European countries offer courses in English, the UK flag stands tattered in the battlefield.

Elias Faethe, head of the EU Study Portals Intelligence Unit says “if you look at the main competitor countries to the UK in Europe, they are all pushing forward their efforts to attract high-quality international students, and English-taught courses are a way to do this.”

The undisputed winners are international students, including Filipino graduates and alumni – even those in volunteer work or entry-level jobs – because foreign students are allowed to work and in a year or two (depending on which country the student is enrolled) be eligible for permanent residency.

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